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Thursday, December 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 40.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily
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Thirty-five for 35: Annie Laurie Gaylor
Credit:Timothy Hughes

Madison's preeminent freethinker, the daughter of Anne Nicol Gaylor, is a polarizing figure to some and a hero to others. What's certain is that Annie Laurie, an outspoken feminist (can there be any other kind?), has spent most of her life bravely resisting the encroachment of religion into the public sphere.

Gaylor and her former-preacher husband, Dan Barker, are co-presidents of the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. She's written several books, including Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So and Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, and edits the foundation newsletter Freethought Today.

"Christians stole Christmas," Gaylor once told Isthmus, reflecting on the holiday's pagan origins. "We're pleased to share it with them - just so they don't try to hog the whole winter solstice season."

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